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Summer Match: Mini Monkfish Tacos with Romesco

07.09.12

Summer Match: Mini Monkfish Tacos with Romesco

These are a beautifully bright and tasty show-stopper. Serve with Far Niente Chardonnay, which offers those hints of honeysuckle and Meyer lemon with bright acidity that never lets the fun stop.

You can get monkfish from your local fishmonger. We purchased ours from Monterey Fish Market in Berkeley. The fish, though, is caught in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s mild and sweet, with a texture that’s firm and chewy in all the right ways.

Click here for a printable PDF.

Ingredients

Herb Marinade:

1/2 cup parsley
1 bunch chives, cut in thirds
1 bunch chervil
1 bunch tarragon, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil

1 pound monkfish, skinned and deboned (ask the butcher to do it for you), cut into medium dice

Romesco:

2 roma tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
1/2 fennel bulb
2 shallots
3 garlic cloves
1-2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup almonds, slivered and toasted
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha

12 corn tortillas, cut into ½” rounds using round cookie cutters
1 pint vegetable oil (reserving 2 tablespoons to cook the fish)
Fryer thermometer

Micro cilantro, for garnish

Method

To create the herb marinade, place parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon into a blender. Add the mustard and olive oil. Turn on low, then move to high speed until herbs are completely puréed and the marinade is bright green, about two minutes.

Place diced monkfish in a dish, add the herb marinade to coat well, about half a cup. Cover fish and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

To make the romesco, which is a classic sauce from Spain, preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place tomatoes, peppers, fennel, shallots and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil on the vegetables, then add salt and pepper. Bake for 15-25 minutes, watching the garlic so it doesn’t become too brown. The tomatoes will start to break down, and peppers will soften with the outer skin peeling away. Pull out of the oven and let cool. Peel whatever skin will come off of the bell peppers, cut open and extract the seeds and stem. Place all the vegetables in a food processor, add the almonds, then pulse and continue to puree, adding olive oil, Champagne vinegar and Sriracha. The consistency should be like mayonnaise.

While the romesco vegetables are in the oven, start to heat oil hot to fry the mini tortillas. Using a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed sauce pot, heat the vegetable oil to 350˚F. Have a slotted spoon and a plate with a few paper towels ready to receive the fried tortillas. Drop 6 tortilla rounds in at a time and fry until crisp. Remove with the slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Continue this process.

Finally, remove the fish from refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. Place a medium sized sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and allow the oil to get hot. You will see wavy lines in the oil when it is ready. Add fish. Sear on one side for a minute, then flip over and cook 2-3 minutes.

Assemble crisp tortillas on a cutting board and top with a half teaspoon of romesco. Add a piece of the seared monkfish and garnish with micro cilantro. Arrange on a serving platter.

Serves 10 people

Click here for a printable PDF.

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